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Back Road Christmas Ale 2005

Formerly brewed at Back Road Brewery
Style: Smoked
La Porte, Indiana USA


on tap


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RATINGS: 44   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.77/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 255   ABV: 8.5%
Tradition dictates our Christmas seasonal brew be different every year. This year our Christmas Ale will be a Smoked Mocha Porter. Now you can have your coffee and beer at the same time. It will be similar to this years Autumn - a robust porter with a bit of smoked barley and finished off with freshly ground Columbian coffee. The result is an explosion of complex dark beer flavors: roasty, chocolately, coffee, smokey creaminess in a bottle (although best served in a glass). This will make a great dessert beer.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
SuzyGreenberg (1603) - Seattle, Washington, USA - AUG 27, 2010
12 oz. bottle; thanks to riverside for cracking; clear dark brown with thin dark tan head; faint aromas of smoke, caramel, vanilla and some minor oxidation; charred chocolate, dry malt and oxidized smoke; smooth roast, sweet chocolate and stale smoke in the flavors; some coffee too with the stale roast; good stuff even with all the age on it

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
bvc (1235) - Washington, USA - JUN 25, 2010
12oz bottle, thanks riversideak. Dark brown, basically black, with big good looking tan head. Prune, raisins, dark malt, brown sugar, toasty, slight smoke with a bit of oxidation. Malty prune and raisins with brown sugar, meaty campfire, tobacco and damp leather. Showing age, but drinking nice.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
riversideAK (6078) - Shoreline, Washington, USA - JUN 25, 2010
Nose is somewhat oxidized, sweet chocolate, bacon, smoke, roast, prunes leather, and darker fruits. Pours dark brown, brownish hues, no head or lace. Chocolate, sweet darker malts, smoke comes through and then a blast of coffee. Dry sweet finish, almost a little bbq saucy. Medium bodied, nice carbonation. Well done.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
jcwattsrugger (12122) - Florida and, New Jersey, USA - DEC 10, 2009
‘05-12oz bottle @Pauls Gathering Thanks JoeMcPhee-pours a bid foamy brown head and dark brown color. Aroma is sweet dark malt, dark fruit. Taste is sweet dark malt-molasses, hint of mild ashiness, dark fruit, earthy hops. Soft carbonation.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
awaisanen (1304) - Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, USA - JUL 16, 2008
From a 12oz Bottle. Courtesy of CharlesDarwin. Dark black pour, mostly opaque, with subtle tannic hues and a thick layer of creamy tan head. Impressive amount of carbonation for the age. Rich, dark fruit aromas of charred prune and chocolate mingle with a whiff of smoke. Slightly oxidized in the nose, but in an enhancing, fruity kind of way. Smoked meat, light soy, and tobacco. Medium bodied, well carbonated mouthfeel with a creamy, bubbly texture. Flavors of light smoke and chocolate up front, creating an almost meaty mole flavor, sans spices. Hearty prune and raisin come out mid-palate. The flavors dry up nicely in the finish, leaving behind roasted malt, coffee, and more smoke lingering on the palate. Rich and malty, with well integrated flavors that have held up remarkably well over time. At this point, the smoke tastes like it may have faded some, but the coffee flavors are still solid and the body hasn’t thinned out yet. If you’re lucky enough to have a bottle of this, drink it now. Thanks for the rare treat, Tom!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Headbanger (3784) - Aurora, Illinois, USA - SEP 20, 2007
12oz bottle-Dark brown body with a huge tan head and very little liquid. Aroma of chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and a little smoke. Taste of malt and a lot of smoke with a tart back end.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
ClarkVV (5571) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - APR 20, 2007
Bottle from BBB63, refrigerated for a long time and finally opened on 3/30/07
Looks like the refrigeration did this well! That and a lactic infection….Way more carbonated than it could possibly still be at this point, being quite accustomed to Back Road’s bottled beers. Very Belgian in nature, the head is huge, fluffy and immaculately well-retained, providing rings of lace down the glass. Head is a cookie dough color with light tan tints, while the body is a deep, deep cola brown with amber-garnet highlights on the edges. Medium clarity.
Wow, that’s a supremely malty, yet balanced nose! Rich, but not overly salty, smokiness curls upward enticingly and lush chocolate and very light vanilla-laced coffee notes sit on the backend. Tartness in the nose is lightly apparent, more of a juicy berry-like acidity than any full-on lacto acid. It actually helps the balance, though unintentionally, and the beer seems almost like a smoked baltic porter. But the malt is simply unfailing, and the silky, rich chocolate vapors entice to the last drop. A hint of alcohol is notable, but otherwise it remains quite controlled and tame for its size.
The malt body jumps out at you right away. Wow, I had no idea Back Road could produce this well-malted of a beer. This is like approaching top-tier Imperial Stout/barleywine maltiness. Richly flavorful, it also, importantly, has the aspect of not being too sugary/sweet/syrupy. Big without the negative aspects of being big, you might say. Just a wonderful chocolate and smoke flavor with dry coffee tapering off in to lactic acid notes that provide significant tartness. Lots of esters integrated in to the flavor, with vanilla and anise. Smokiness never gets old or overdone. Silky texture, though with quite a bit of refermented carbonation.
The infection didnt turn out as nicely as PP Santas Lil Helper and there is a bit of dirtiness noted on the finish in this one, but it’s also a far cry from Kuhnhenn’s Creme Brulee bottled batch. Keeping it in the fridge may have greatly inhibited the infection. Be curious to try a bottle that had been kept cellared. Thanks for the treat, Mike!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
Brigadier (3510) - Chagrin Falls, Ohio, USA - FEB 4, 2007
12 oz bottle

Thanks to hezron for bringing this to a recent tasting. If I remember correctly it originally came by way of BBB63. For a beer slightly over a year old this has aged very well. It reminds me of a sibling to the Bells special smoked which I have also had the chance to try recently. The description on the bottle is spot on - this would make a great beer to drink after a meal.

Aroma / Appearance - The deep black body poured with just a little bit of head. The smell of hot sugar cured ham greeted my nose along with sausages. It was almost like walking into a butcher’s shop if that shop also happpened to be a bakery. A velvety feel backs everything.

Flavor / Palate - Velvet, chocolate and sausage form an impression that reminds me of Thanksgiving dinner. A hot sugar ham on the table mingles with the scent of hot chocolate pecan pie to form a very intoxicating aroma. It might need a little more presence but overall all the pieces are there to make an excellent smoked beer. The dry hammy finish is not unlike trying to eat that last little bit of ham left on the plate - tempting you to do so but slightly elusive. I enjoyed this one considerably and may have to pay more attention to Back Roads in the future.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
auerbrau (3203) - Ithaca, New York, USA - JAN 27, 2007
12 Oz Bottle. A curl of nutty smoke rises from the glass and joins some blows of alder smoked deer meat and a hint of seared caramel. Dark mahogany pour, blended with a tawny rim. Beautiful crisp flavor. Composition bringing in gentle smokey ashes and sweet pig fat candies and barbeque sauce on the grill. Melding into the roast malt is the sweet caramels, infused with musky sage. Sea salt appears in the mix and makes a great dimension compoennt. Hints of charred beef edges and waxy marzipan appear towards the back. A very nicely nuanced and beautifully constructed beer. Fantastic. I’m really glad to have had the opportunity to try this beer. Thanks hezron!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
goldtwins (4320) - Nesconset, New York, USA - SEP 13, 2006
Poured an opaque black color with a large brown head. Big roasted malt and coffee aroma. Some smoke underneath, but not as much as I had expected. Mild ashiness comes through as well. Sweetness starts to come through as the beer warms. Some chocolate and plum skin. The flavor seems to be a little weak for such a strong aroma. Tasty though. Mostly roasted malt with a bitter sweet chocolate finish. Moderate bitter hop finish as well. Fair amount of warmth in the chest. Silky mouthfeel with a medium body. I am glad I dug deep into the back of my fridge to pull this out for tonight. A nice find for me. I am more impressed with each sip. I would have drank this sooner had I known.

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